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State Unemployment Drops Below 6% for First Time Since 2008

Posted October 18, 2012, 01:34 PM HST Updated October 18, 2012, 01:55 PM HST

Statewide, unemployment dropped under 6% for the first time since December 2008. The Big Island’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.9% in September 2011 to 7.9% last month. Image courtesy of Hawai‘i State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced today that the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 5.7%, down from 6.1% in August.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8%, a decline from 8.1% in August.

The last time Hawai‘i had an unemployment rate as low as 5.7% was in December 2008.

The state does not track seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for neighbor islands. However, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Hawai‘i County in September was 7.9%, down from 9.9% from the same month last year.

Statewide, there were 604,000 employed and 36,650 unemployed in September, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 640,650.

Initial claims and weeks claims for unemployment benefits were down 9.4% and 13.2%, respectively compared to one year ago.


On the Big Island, the number of weeks claimed has decreased throughout the year. Weeks claimed are requests for weekly unemployment payments, whether or not benefits are actually paid.

In the first week of 2012 there were 1,452 weeks claimed in Hilo and 1,260 in Kona. By the week of October 13, those numbers had dropped to 1,130 and 1,096 for the respective towns.

Initial unemployment claims on the Big Island have also decreased as the year progresses. Initial claims initiate a determination of eligibility to begin a claimant’s benefit year.

During the first week of 2012 there were 302 claims in Hilo and 184 in Kona. For the week of October 13, those numbers had dropped to 181 new claims in Hilo and 170 in Kona.


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